KERA radio story:
Jose Bowen’s decision to leave SMU to run Goucher may come down to this: A college eager to hire a jazz musician to be its president is rare.
“It’s a great opportunity for me,” Bowen says in his third-floor office above the Greer Garson Theater lobby. “There are not a lot of schools like Goucher. There are not a lot of places that I could go to and feel so comfortable as an artist. You know, a lot of schools would not hire a musician as their president.”
Bowen hopes to do for liberal arts education what he’s been doing for arts education at SMU – making it lead to real, productive, innovative careers for the students.
Of course, Bowen has not been just a musician playing dean at SMU. He helped pioneer the school’s arts entrepreneurship program. He had the Meadows Prize bring unconventional artists here. He helped establish the National Center for Arts Research. He was an engine of change in what has often been a safe, sleepy campus.
“The thing that I’m most proud of is that we’ve taken the school off-campus, that we’ve taken it into the city,” he says “The last eight years have been extraordinary for Dallas. I’ve been very lucky to be a part of that. And I’d like to hope that one of my contributions was being a part of that and being integrated with the other arts organizations.”
To add to the Bowen-related news: His book, Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning, was just given the national 2014 Frederic W. Ness Book Award by the Association of American Colleges and Universities.
Bowen takes over Goucher College July 1st.
Here’s Goucher’s full release:
Goucher College Announces José Antonio Bowen as Incoming President
Nationally Award-Winning Educator and Author of Teaching Naked
Will Become 11th President of the Liberal Arts College
Baltimore – The Board of Trustees of Goucher College is pleased to announce that José Antonio Bowen—a nationally award-winning educator and author of Teaching Naked—will become the liberal arts college’s 11th president, effective July 1, 2014.
Bowen will come to Goucher from Southern Methodist University’s (SMU) Meadows School of the Arts, where he is serving as the dean, professor of music, and the Algur H. Meadows Chair. During his long tenure as an educator, Bowen has demonstrated strong leadership in instruction, entrepreneurship, diversity, global citizenship, and community engagement—all complements to Goucher’s core values. His professional experience and commitment to higher education, particularly the liberal arts, will help reinforce the college’s outstanding academic program, its ties to the community, and its excellent national and international reputation.
Bowen will succeed Sanford J. Ungar, who became Goucher’s 10th president in July 2001 and will step down on June 30.
“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, the Presidential Search Committee, and, indeed, all members of the Goucher community, we believe Dr. Bowen is the right candidate who has come along at the exact right time to build on Sandy’s legacy and lead our college into its next phase of excellence,” said Norma Lynn Fox ’76, chair of the Board of Trustees.
“Goucher College is a paragon of the liberal arts and sciences tradition, but it also is a place that has boldly embraced big, new ideas in education, such as its comprehensive study abroad requirement. Goucher truly is in a strong position, thanks to Sandy Ungar’s vision and leadership.” Bowen said. “I have been an outspoken advocate for innovation in higher education, and I am excited about using the framework of interdisciplinary education not only to transform individual students’ lives, but to help change the way people think about value and uses of the liberal arts.”
“I am delighted and honored to be succeeded by José Bowen, an eminent educator, brilliant jazz performer, and deep thinker on the value of the liberal arts,” said Ungar. “I believe that he and the magnificent, successful place that is Goucher are an excellent match for each other, and I know that this community looks forward to his arrival with great enthusiasm.”
Bowen began his teaching career at Stanford University in 1982 as the director of jazz ensembles. In 1994, he became the founding director of the Centre for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music at the University of Southampton, England. He returned to the United States in 1999 as the first holder of the endowed Caestecker Chair of Music at Georgetown University, where he created and directed the Department of Performing Arts. He was dean of fine arts at Miami University before moving to SMU in Dallas.
Bowen has been a pioneer in educational technology and active learning, encouraging professors to devote class time to increasing the complexity of student mental models through discussion and debate, rather than only providing content through lectures. He has asserted that technology is better used outside the classroom to provide students with first contact to material, through podcasts, games, or other online material; opportunities to connect on social media; and diagnostic online exams that can improve preparation for class and provide immediate feedback to both students and faculty. This approach makes more time for active “naked” high-impact, face-to-face contact between faculty and students.
His book Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning recently won the Ness Award from the American Association of Colleges and Universities as the “book that best illuminates the goals and practices of a contemporary liberal education.” It has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, and on NPR.
Bowen also has spent 35 years as a jazz musician and has appeared in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and the United States with performers such as Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Bobby McFerrin, Dave Brubeck, and Liberace. He has written a symphony, which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Music; a film score; and music for Hubert Laws, Jerry Garcia, and many others. He has served on the editorial boards for Jazz Research Journal, the Journal of the Society for American Music, the Journal of Music History Pedagogy, and Per Musi: Revista Acadêmica de Música.
Bowen has written more than 100 scholarly articles, edited the Cambridge Companion to Conducting, received a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, and contributed to Discover Jazz. He was an editor of the six-CD set Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology.
He is a founding board member of the National Recording Preservation Board for the Library of Congress and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in England.
Bowen holds four degrees from Stanford University: a Bachelor of Science in chemistry, a Master of Arts in music composition, a Master of Arts in humanities, and a joint doctorate in musicology and humanities. Stanford honored him as a Distinguished Alumni Scholar in 2010.
In the Dallas area, Bowen dedicates his time serving the Dallas Museum of Art, TITAS Music and Dance Presenters, the Creative Arts Center of Dallas, the Dallas Theater Center, the Dallas Holocaust Museum, the Business Council for the Arts, and the Mayor’s Task Force on Fair Park of Texas. He also was an advisory volunteer for the AT&T Performing Arts Center, the Dallas International Film Festival, and the Booker T. Washington High School for the Visual and Performing Arts. Additionally, Bowen was a certified tourism ambassador for Dallas, and he served on the board of the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Bowen will be living on Goucher’s campus with his wife, Kimberly, and their dogs, Chloe, Molly, and Daisy, and their 18-year-old cat Latte. Their daughter Naomi is 21, and she will graduate from SMU in May.
The path leading to Bowen’s presidency began when the college established a search committee, headed by Trustee Florence Beck Kurdle ’61, and composed of members of the Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, student body, and alumnae/i. The firm Witt/Kieffer was hired to help the search committee throughout this important process. Input from community members and other key constituencies was solicited and valued during the search process.
The Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve Bowen as the college’s next leader.
“Goucher has benefitted from Sandy Ungar’s extraordinary leadership during his 13-year tenure as our president,” said Fox. “As Sandy passes the torch to Dr. Bowen, Goucher is in a very strong position to confront the conflux of challenges U.S. colleges and universities are facing. The entire Goucher community appreciates Sandy for his important contributions to the college, and we look forward to an ever-bright future under Bowen’s innovative leadership.”
For photos and more information about Dr. Bowen, and to send him a welcome message, please click here. To join the conversation, follow Goucher College on Facebook and Twitter and use the hashtags #GoucherNextPrez and #WelcomeDrBowen.
Goucher College is a selective independent, coeducational institution dedicated to the interdisciplinary traditions of the liberal arts and a broad international perspective on education. With its 100 percent undergraduate participation in study abroad, Goucher believes in complementing its strong majors and rigorous curriculum with abundant opportunities for hands-on experience in the world. Through internships, community service and study abroad—and a first-rate arts and sciences program—Goucher teaches its students to engage the world as true global citizens.